I won’t start with an interview like Chris did in his first blog. I simply want to tell you that my name is Holger Bruchelt, and I am working at SAP as a solution manager for Duet Enterprise and NetWeaver Gateway. If you want to read a little about my history, you can visit my page on the SAP Community Network. There you can also find some other blogs that I have written.
When Chris first introduced me to LightSwitch some time ago I was exited from the very beginning. I saw (and see J) a lot of potential in leveraging the combined power of exposing SAP data through SAP NetWeaver Gateway and the ease and flexibility to consume and visualize this data via Microsoft LightSwitch. So in the past few months Chris and I have been working on this topic; not full time, but with a lot of great support from both teams at Microsoft and SAP.
When Chris asked me to write a post on his new blog, I was, of course, all for introducing you to SAP NetWeaver Gateway. I will not explain everything in full detail, but instead point you to some other pages to get you started. In upcoming blogs (if Chris lets me) I hope to guide you a little more through the power of SAP NetWeaver Gateway so that in just a few posts Chris and I will be able to demonstrate to you a full end to end view consuming SAP data:
- Find data from your SAP systems
- Model and strip it down to an appropriate size and format
- Expose it via OData so that it can be easily consumed by any device
- Take the service in Microsoft LightSwitch
- … and build a beautiful application out of it.
But let’s start from the beginning. What is SAP NetWeaver Gateway?
SAP NetWeaver Gateway is a technology that provides a simple way to connect devices, environments and platforms to SAP software based on market standards. The framework enables development of innovative people-centric solutions bringing the power of SAP business software into new experiences such as social and collaboration environments, mobile and tablet devices and rich internet applications. It offers connectivity to SAP applications using any programming language or model without the need for SAP knowledge by leveraging REST services and OData/Atom protocols.
Of course that is a lot of marketing, but in a nutshell SAP NetWeaver Gateway allows you to expose the data that is otherwise somewhere inaccessibly hidden in your SAP system in an easy to use way – via OData.
For this SAP NetWeaver Gateway does not only provide you with classes that make the hard-core development in your SAP system easier (using the “beautiful” language ABAP, but it also provides you with generators and tools to speed up the development.
You can start by modeling your OData service the same way you are probably already used to doing in Microsoft Visual Studio, and then import this model in SAP NetWeaver Gateway’s Service Builder (e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u83sV01dZeU. Then the only thing that is left is to fill the model with content (i.e. where should the data come from).
All of this is documented in great detail and available on http://help.sap.com/nwgateway
Here you can find everything from information on how to install your SAP NetWeaver Gateway system, to how to create your first service.
If you want more practical examples, then I would recommend the content that you find on the SAP Community Network [http://scn.sap.com/community/netweaver-gateway]. Here you can find some great How-To Guides [http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-27405] that can also be used as a good starting point.
If you don’t want to read anything, I can recommend the videos on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/sapgateway?feature=watch where you can find everything from a quick introductionhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEOi4I3FD18, how to generate your OData service using the Service Builder [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgsWEBjunPY&list=UU5wTwBT2AKxROlElY5KpFng&index=15] to some examples how you can consume data, e.g. via PHP [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHjUHNSn1tI&list=UU5wTwBT2AKxROlElY5KpFng&index=31].
But of course there is more – so take your time.
Granted: this information will probably only be interesting to you if you have some SAP background. If you are interested to learn more hands-on about what SAP NetWeaver Gateway is, I would recommend the Pre-packaged trial. This package allows you to download a Virtual Machine that has NetWeaver Gateway installed and is ready to use. You can start right away to create your own OData service.
If you don’t want to do that (i.e. creating your own OData service) you can also start using a sample SAP NetWeaver Gateway OData service that is ready to be consumed. This is a very simple service, but maybe it is a good starting point. Here you can find more information about the Online Demo System – A good starting point is probably the service:
That’s it for now. In my next blog, I’d like to show how to consume a simple OData service from SAP NetWeaver Gateway and consume it in Microsoft LightSwitch.